After her mother dies from a heroin overdose, Jeliza-Rose(Jodelle Ferland from Silent Hill) is taken from the big city to a rural farmhouse by her father(Jeff Bridges). As she tries to settle into a new life in a house her father had purchased for his now-deceased mother, Jeliza-Rose's attempts to deal with what's happened result in increasingly odd behavior, as she begins to communicate mainly with her bodiless Barbie doll heads and Dell, a neighborhood woman who always wears a beekeeper's veil and her retarded little brother.
At the very beginning of the movie director Terry Gilliam sits in front of the camera and bluntly says,"Many of you will hate this movie and some of you will like it." He further warns the audience to think as a child. Think innocently and purely. Last but not least he states that he found his inner child and it was a little girl.
Terry Gilliam has given us some great movies and his fingerprint is unique and very obvious. 12 Monkeys, Time Bandits, Brother's Grimm and Brazil are some of his more famous films. Brazil is actually one of my favorite all time movies.
Gilliam has a very distinct visual style and very unusual stories and storytellers. Tideland is no different.
It's hard to say whether or not I truly hated or liked this movie. There was a lot to appreciate amidst the random rubble of a stubborn old director. Jodelle Ferland did an amazing job as the little girl. She totally redeemed herself from Silent Hill as she naturally carried her character to some extremely rough and unusual concepts. Also props for working with Terry Gilliam who is notorious for being hard as nails on his cast and crew.
Brendon Fletcher was also exciting to watch as he played the retarded brother, sea captain of the prairie, and slayer of giant sharks. We've had a lot of actors tackling the mentally challenged but Fletcher raised the bar instead of slipping under.
Jeff bridges played acted as if he walked of the set of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas(another Gilliam film). And unusual but fitting role for The Dude.
Conceptually there was a lot going for Tideland. A fairy tale is told to you but your imagination as a viewer must be able to follow the actors lead. You see nothing more than a sea of grass but the characters are swimming through a sea of shark infested waters.
The movie is long and slow, weird and uncomfortable. There is no obvious point and not blatant message. The situations are unheard of as an adult but once reversing to a child it MIGHT make sense.
A hard movie to watch but with little treasures hidden throughout make for not a total loss.